Book Review: The Carrot Principle

by Jul 24, 2014

Sometimes it can be hard to engage with your team and push them to do more. The book, The Carrot Principle: How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their People, Retain Talent, and Accelerate Performance by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton takes a look at how you accomplish this with recognition.

The book mainly shows how you can get more out of your team by recognizing them and giving them incentives them along the way. Recognition can be as simple as saying their name, or recognizing their efforts in front of the whole team. The theory is that people in general will do more for you if you pay them a little attention. However, although recognizing your team may seam easy, it does come with a few strings attached. Recognition must be:

  • Frequent
  • Timely
  • Consistent
  • Specific

If you recognize one team member for a job well done on a project, you can’t just not recognize another team member when their time comes. Recognition take a lot of skill to implement so that things remain fair and just to all of your team members.

The Carrot Principle also speaks about establishing alignment of your recognition with the goals that you have for your team. This helps you drive your team towards your goals, while you are acknowledging them along the way. As a manager, if you communicate openly about your goals, you can quickly establish trust with your team. This will engage your team, and push them to do more.

Have you ever wondered how your team likes to be recognized? Well the top three ways people love to be recognized (whether they say it or not) are:

  1. In public while with their team or group
  2. In public to the whole organization
  3. In private in a one-on-one conversation

So, be public with your recognition! It will help propel your team to want to do more an engage more with your purpose. Want more ways to show recognition for your team member(s)? Here are 25, enjoy!

  1. Love for positives, and always compliment the things that go right
  2. Call people by name
  3. Send a special email to say thank you
  4. Send a thank you card to your vendor team
  5. Use social media to congratulate or say thank you to your vendor team
  6. Send a note of recognition to a vendor’s leader, or your leader regarding your team member
  7. Take a team picture and give to the members of your team
  8. Send personalized birthday cards
  9. Write a handwritten note of appreciation
  10. Ice cream! (ice cream makes everyone happy)
  11. Find out our your team members favorite snacks, and get it for them, or have in office snack bowl
  12. Find out what each team member does best, and play to their strengths
  13. Motivate your team member by saying ‘I know you can do it” or “I support you”
  14. Buy your team their favorite specialty coffee
  15. Nominate a team member or vendor for an industry award
  16. Praise your team members in public
  17. Ask opinions publicly
  18. Take team members out to lunch as a one-on-one
  19. If group meets a goal – take the whole team to lunch
  20. Do a toast
  21. Give a monetary service award
  22. Give cards are awesome – give them (favorite restaurants, coffee shops, gas cards, amazon)
  23. Tip your vendors 🙂
  24. Give the gift of a personalized item
  25. Have incentives on bigger projects for team (valued at a free hotel stay, or airline ticket, or ___enter your item______), and present publicly

What do you think about the Carrot Principle? Do you have any other ways to recognize your team that you care to share? Let us in on your thoughts in the comments below!


Photo credit: the bait by nist6dh via Flickr


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